Orthopedics at the Cloquet Hospital

Elective joint surgery and arthritis treatment

Orthopedics

Joint replacement surgery and arthritis care provided by board-certified orthopedic surgeons

With board-certified, orthopedic surgeons on staff, CMH makes elective orthopedic surgery for patients of all ages convenient. Dr. Joseph Lemker, Dr. Kyle Menzel and Dr. Mark Gregerson provide total joint replacement surgery; shoulder, arm, hand, hip, knee, ankle, and foot surgery; arthroscopic knee surgery; and sports medicine. They also provide conservative treatment for arthritis.

Shoulder replacement surgery

Shoulder replacement surgery essentially replaces the ends of each bone of the joint creating a new stable surface for the joint to function smoothly across. The extent of the surgery and materials used vary from patient to patient, but generally involve resurfacing of the humerus or scapula using plastic or metal. Cement or a material that may allow the bone to grow attached to the new joint components is used to hold the new joint surfaces in place.

Resurfacing the humerus is often done by replacing the upper portion of the arm with a metal piece with a round humeral head-like surface. The cup-shaped area enclosing the humeral head may also be smoothed out or reshaped using plastic or another material.

After surgery, a patient can expect to remain on an IV for at least a day as doctors monitor general health, drain fluid from the joint, deliver pain suppressants, antibiotics and sometimes even anticoagulants. The shoulder will be wrapped and we may use a compression sleeve to allow better blood circulation. A catheter may also be used in some cases. Light forms of physical therapy will begin within a few days after surgery in order to maintain range of motion. Slowly less and less pain medication will be necessary and a full regimen of physical therapy may begin. Once recovery is completed, it is imperative for the patient to maintain activity in order to maintain flexibility, range of motion, and strength.

Knee surgery for a meniscus tear

A meniscus tear is a common injury to the meniscus or cartilage that cushions the knee joint. The type and extent of the tear determines if and how the tear can be repaired.

Types of knee surgery:

  • Open surgery. A small incision is made and the knee is opened up so the surgeon can see the meniscus and repair the tear.
  • Arthroscopic surgery. The surgeon makes a small incision near the knee and inserts a small tube (arthroscope) containing a light and camera. Surgical tools are then entered through other small incisions and the tear is repaired using dissolvable stitches or anchors without the need for a large incision opening the knee.

It is commonly recommended to not move the knee for two weeks after surgery. Physical therapy begins right after surgery and many are able to resume normal day-to-day activities within a month. However, heavy work such as running, lifting, squatting or playing sports may take multiple months of physical therapy before it is safe to resume.

The success of a meniscus repair depends greatly upon where the tear is located within the meniscus. Tears in the “red zone” (the area which has a good blood supply) see a 90 to 95 percent success rate. Success may also vary depending upon the health of the individual and response to rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Hip surgery

The hip, the body’s largest ball-and-socket joint, allows us to perform all kinds of activities, including running, walking and climbing stairs. It is built to withstand repetitive motions, but can become damaged and worn out over time due to genetics or other factors. People suffering from a damaged hip joint may experience pain differently, whether it is severe or dull and constant.

Individuals suffering from hip pain usually experience the following symptoms:

  • Soreness or discomfort in your thigh, groin, front or back of your hip
  • Back pain that travels to your hip
  • Hip pain that increases with physical activity
  • Hip pain that makes it hard to walk or bend your leg

Common causes of hip pain include:

  • Bursitis tendinitis
  • Arthritis
  • A fall or injury
  • Muscle or tendon strain

You deserve to live an active life, free of hip pain. When you visit with an orthopedic surgeon at CMH, we will review your medical history and examine your hip pain. Depending on your diagnosis, we may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, pain relievers, exercises to improve joint mobility or physical therapy to help you find hip pain relief.

If we have tried all nonsurgical options to treat your hip pain, and they have been unsuccessful, we may suggest surgery as another treatment option.

Conservative management of arthritis

Conservative management of osteoarthritis includes non-surgical treatments that provide symptomatic relief, modification of the course of the disease and an approach that allows patients to adjust to the realities and take more control of their condition.

Arthritis is an umbrella term for a number of disease processes in which the joint surface is injured (either acutely or through gradual wear and tear), the surrounding tissues become inflamed and the cushion of cartilage that lines the ends of the bones (known as articular cartilage) deteriorates. As the cartilage surface wears and thins, a progression of symptoms develops. Eventually, at the end stage of arthritis, the articular cartilage wears away completely and bone on bone contact occurs. The vast majority of people diagnosed have osteoarthritis and in most cases the cause of their condition cannot be identified. One or more joints may be affected.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic immune disorder that affects multiple joints. In such cases, the body perceives the joint lining (synovium) and cartilage to be foreign substance and attacks it. Far fewer Americans are diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis.

Regardless of which joint is affected, osteoarthritis takes a common course. The pain and stiffness that develop results from the loss of smooth, gliding cartilage on the joint surfaces. As the cartilage thins and becomes uneven, stiffness and catching occur. Motion is diminished and the surrounding joint lining, ligaments and tendons contract and tighten. The joint becomes painful to move, and there is often a progressive weakening of the muscles that control it. The practical implications of these limitations are disruption in work and recreation.

It is important to understand that two joints that show the same cartilage loss on x-ray may behave very differently in terms of discomfort and limited function. The weak, stiff joint will be more painful and disabling than a joint with preserved strength and motion. And of course, additional factors such as body weight, other joint involvement and general health are also very important in determining the level of disability and quality of life. Patients who embark on a conservative course of treatment for arthritis are taking control of their condition and seeking the best possible outcome.

Stretching and strengthening exercises, under the guidance of an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist, help maintain range of motion and alleviate stiffness. Exercise should be considered with three specific goals: strengthening the muscles that control the arthritic joint, exercises that fortify adjacent joints (such as the low back) and exercise that improves overall fitness. Patients who have been athletic all their lives and enjoy recreational sports may find that a diagnosis of osteoarthritis requires them to alter their exercise and sports routine in order to protect their joints.

Other conservative arthritis treatments include:

  • Application of heat and cold
  • Medication, including over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents
  • Steroid injection or visco-supplementation (viscous substances that are injected into the joint to lubricate the joint and ease movement)

Sports Medicine

Whether you’re a “weekend warrior” or a member of a sports team, the CMH Orthopedics team can help if you get sidelined due to an injury. We’re experts at the diagnosis, treatment and management of a wide range of sports injuries, and we’ll help you return to your activities as soon as possible.

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Community Memorial Hospital
512 Skyline Boulevard
Cloquet, Minnesota 55720
218-879-4641

CMH Urgent Care hours: Monday-Friday, 5-9pm; Saturday 9am-3pm; closed on holidays
Hospital & Emergency Room 218-879-4641

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